Location

Situated in the heart of New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, Russell is a charming, historic seaside town, which is well-served with good restaurants, quality art galleries and stylish shops. Dotted with wonderful heritage buildings, the sub-tropical climate and a pristine harbour all create a truly special atmosphere.

To get to Russell, you need to take a five-minute car ferry journey across the bay – and during that short, scenic ride, the stresses and hustle of everyday life seem to disappear.

Passenger ferries run backwards and forwards all day between Russell and Paihia and vehicle ferries between Opua and Okiato (a short distance from Russell) run a regular schedule.

Driving Instructions – From Auckland to Russell, Bay of Islands

Auckland to Russell driving time: 3.5 hours (233 km / 145 miles)

If you are using a satnav device, please note that many versions of satnavs will route via the slow coastal road north of Whangarei (especially if you select ‘No toll routes’).  Whilst scenic, this is not direct and is a narrow winding road which will add at least an hour to the journey.  To avoid this, ensure that your route brings you via Opua (to catch the car ferry) or set your destination as Franklin Street, Opua.

  • Take SH 1 north, direction Whangarei
  • Be aware of the Northern Gateway Toll Road just north of Auckland.  Note the signs for payment options ($2.30 each way with 5 days to pay) or follow the alternative routes indicated (only 15 minutes longer and quite scenic). 
  • Continue past Whangarei to Kawakawa on SH 1
  • Take SH11 direction Russell/Paihia and Opua
  • Turn right at Opua to car ferry. The car ferry ticket is $12.50 one-way, you can pay by cash or by credit card. Ferries shuttle back and forth from 6:40 am to 10 pm. No pre-booking is required. 
  • Remain on this road for 8km into Russell village. Stay on the main road.
  • Flagstaff Lodge is just past the shops on a large section on the right hand corner – you will see the sign.
  • Parking available on-site.

Driving Instructions – From the Bay of Islands (Kerikeri) Airport

Airport to Russell driving time: 1 hour

  • Turn left on exiting airport
  • After about 3 km turn right at roundabout, direction Paihia on SH10
  • Turn left at Puketona onto SH11, direction Paihia
  • Drive until meeting the seafront and turn right at roundabout.  Drive for about 8 km, passing through Paihia until you see sign for Opua.  Turn left downhill.
  • The car ferry ticket is $12.50 one-way, you can pay by cash or by credit card. Ferries shuttle back and forth from 6:40 am to 10 pm. No pre-booking is required.
  • Remain on this road for 8km into Russell village. Stay on the main road.
  • Flagstaff Lodge is just past the shops on a large section on the right hand corner – you will see the sign.
  • Parking available on-site.

Flying and Driving Times

Auckland to Kerikeri Flight time: 40 minutes
Kerikeri to Opua Driving time: 40 minutes (31 km / 20 miles)
Opua to Russell Via vehicle ferry: 15 minutes

Auckland to Whangarei Flight time: 25 minutes
Whangarei to Opua Driving time: 60 minutes
Opua to Russell Via vehicle ferry: 15 minutes

Rental cars are available from both Kerikeri and Whangarei airports. Flagstaff Lodge offers guests a pickup and drop-off service if needed.